Out of my Comfort Zone

Whether it’s in academics, athletics, or service, Sam Clark has learned to persevere with grit and determination. In doing so, he reached his perfect score. 

by Sam Clark, Class of 2012
Strake Jesuit ‘16 • University of Texas ‘20

I am proud to be a PS Lifer. As I mature, I realize more and more how important my time was at Presbyterian School. PS really crafted me into who I am today. Whether it was the countless trips to Head of School, Mr. Johnson’s, office for misbehaving during Lower School, the field trips to the Museum of Fine Arts and the Cullen Sculpture Garden, or my close community of classmates, I attribute my success to my amazing experiences at Presbyterian.

One of the most valuable lessons that I learned at PS was the power of a group fully invested in achieving a shared goal. During sixth and seventh grade, our football team was horrible. I’m honestly not sure if we even won a game or not. We were so bad that I didn’t know if I wanted to play football again. I talked to Mr. Heard, our coach at the time, about whether or not I should play in eighth grade. Mr. Heard convinced me to play, and I bought in fully to the team. That year, we only lost one game. The same kids that didn’t win a single game for the past two years committed to the program, and we just clicked. Our slogan was “Band of Brothers.” It taught me the importance of working hard and never giving up. My eighth grade football team will always be one of the best sports teams I have ever been a part of. Moving on from middle school football, I joined Strake’s lacrosse team and have enjoyed playing for the Crusaders.

PS also cultivated my mindset toward service. With the competitive nature of college admissions, there is a ton of emphasis on volunteering as a way to build your resume or to meet a requirement for school. This easily turns service into drudgery that every student is trying to get over with as easily as possible.  Presbyterian School helped me avoid this attitude. I remember at PS we visited the Nehemiah Center just to make some kids smile. We also helped set up tables at the First Presbyterian Church Adult Plus luncheons simply because it was the right thing to do.  At PS, we volunteered when there was no service hour requirement, and we had a great time doing it. To keep this mindset, I contributed to Strake Jesuit and got involved in Key Club, a community service organization. I served as class representatives for both Key Club and Student Council. Last summer I also interned at the MD Anderson Cancer Center.  My senior service project, volunteering at Camp Blessing, was life changing. Volunteering as a counselor at a camp for children with special needs really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I can say with confidence that it made me a better person.

One of the most rewarding moments of my high school career was getting into the college of my choice. The countless late nights I spent studying all four years of high school paid off as I maintained an above 4.0 GPA and earned a perfect score (36) on the ACT.  The work I put in was much less glorious than the college acceptance letter, but one doesn’t come without the other.

I’m passionate about business and look forward to studying at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas. This summer, I plan to intern at a local accounting firm and lifeguard at the River Oaks Country Club.

The accomplishments of PS alumni serve as a testament to how special a breed are Presbyterian School kids. Whether it’s getting your Masters from Oxford or playing in the NFL, the Presbyterian students who have come before you have conquered the world. They’re no different from you! Never sell yourself short.

My advice to current PS students is to discover your passion and run with it. Once you’ve found something you’re really interested in, find ways to involve yourself in it, and learn more about it. Be the best version of yourself. 

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